Fresh probe on ACF murder

Sri Lanka is to launch a fresh investigation into the massacre of 17 aid workers of a French Non Government Organization (NGO) during the war in 2006, a government official said on Tuesday.

The official from the government legal department, who wished to remain anonymous as he is not authorized to comment on the matter, told Xinhua that the government is awaiting a report from the Attorney General’s Department in Sri Lanka before commencing the investigations.

The 17 local aid workers attached to the French humanitarian agency Action Conter la Faim (ACF) were found killed in the eastern town of Muttur soon after the Sri Lankan army launched fresh military operations against the Tamil Tiger rebels.

The rebels blamed the military for the killings but the government denied the claims and blamed the Tamil Tigers over the incident.

A local commission which subsequently investigated the incident concluded that it was hard to determine who was responsible as both the rebels and the military were in that location at the time.

“We are now keen to have a second look at the investigations and re-start preliminary inquiries. The commission report has been given to the Attorney General for a determination on how we can proceed with a judicial inquiry,” the government official said.

He said that once the Attorney General issues advice then committee proceedings will begin and testimonials will be recorded on the incident.

ACF was quoted as saying on Monday that it was submitting a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in advance of a review on Sri Lanka’s human rights practices in October this year.

The report highlights that there was political interference in the judicial process of the investigations soon after the massacre and that there was also a lack of transparency in the previous probe.

ACF is calling on the UN Human Rights Council to launch a full international and independent investigation to obtain the truth and identify the perpetrators of the brutal massacre and officially recognize Sri Lanka’s violations of its international obligations.

“We would have done a lot by October with regards to the investigations in this case. You must understand it is difficult to reach a conclusion in cases like this soon but we will address this issue,” the government official said. (Xinhua)